SCENE I.--VALÈRE, ÉLISE.
VAL. What, dear Élise! you grow sad after having given me such dear tokens of your
love; and I see you sigh in the midst of my joy! Can you regret having made me happy?
and do you repent of the engagement which my love has forced from you?
ELI. No, Valère, I do not regret what I do for you; I feel carried on by too delightful a
power, and I do not even wish that things should be otherwise than they are. Yet, to tell
you the truth, I am very anxious about the consequences; and I greatly fear that I love you
more than I should.
VAL. What can you possibly fear from the affection you have shown me?
ELI. Everything; the anger of my father, the reproaches of my family, the censure of the
world, and, above all, Valère, a change in your heart! I fear that cruel coldness with
which your sex so often repays the too warm proofs of an innocent love.
VAL. Alas! do not wrong me thus; do not judge of me by others. Think me capable of
everything, Élise, except of falling short of what I owe to you. I love you too much for
that; and my love will be as lasting as my life!
ELI. Ah! Valère, all men say the same thing; all men are alike in their words; their
actions only show the difference that exists between them.
VAL. Then why not wait for actions, if by them alone you can judge of the truthfulness
of my heart? Do not suffer your anxious fears to mislead you, and to wrong me. Do not
let an unjust suspicion destroy the happiness which is to me dearer than life; but give me
time to show you by a thousand proofs the sincerity of my affection.
ELI. Alas! how easily do we allow ourselves to be persuaded by those we love. I believe
you, Valère; I feel sure that your heart is utterly incapable of deceiving me, that your love
is sincere, and that you will ever remain faithful to me. I will no longer doubt that
happiness is near. If I grieve, it will only be over the difficulties of our position, and the
possible censures of the world.
VAL. But why even this fear?
ELI. Oh, Valère! if everybody knew you as I do, I should not have much to fear. I find in
you enough to justify all I do for you; my heart knows all your merit, and feels,
moreover, bound to you by deep gratitude. How can I forget that horrible moment when
we met for the first time? Your generous courage in risking your own life to save mine
from the fury of the waves; your tender care afterwards; your constant attentions and your
ardent love, which neither time nor difficulties can lessen! For me you neglect your